NEW YORK -- December is the month of giving and receiving, and over the past five Decembers, the Yankees have done plenty of both.
Last December, they signed Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Hiroki Kuroda and Brendan Ryan as free agents. In December 2012, it was Kevin Youkilis and Ichiro Suzuki, and in 2011, they added Andruw Jones and Freddy Garcia. December 2010 was a biggie -- the Yankees re-signed Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera to free-agent contracts, and brought in Russell Martin. In December 2009, following their World Series victory over the Phillies, they re-signed Andy Pettitte and traded for Curtis Granderson.
New York Yankees
So what has seemed like a quiet offseason so far can heat up in a hurry, especially at next week's winter meetings in San Diego.
But one free agent who might not find the Yankees to be his Santa Claus is Chase Headley, who only two weeks ago was being touted by folks in the organization as Priority No. 1 considering the lack of faith the Yankees have in the returning Alex Rodriguez.
Now, however, the Headley fever seems to have cooled, especially since the Pablo Sandoval deal with the Red Sox -- five years, $95 million -- seems to have stiffened Headley's resolve to get a five-year deal of his own. According to a baseball source I spoke with Tuesday, the Yankees are not willing to give Headley five years, considering his age (31 in May), so-so offensive production the past two seasons, and lingering lower back problems, which could lead to surgery at some point over the length of a five-year contract.
This could all be posturing, of course, in the hopes that Headley will back off on his demands. Or it could be that the Yankees are seriously considering an influx of youth in their infield.
The source, who has intimate knowledge of the team's inner workings, said the Yankees are exploring the possibility of using Martin Prado at third, where he has played most of his big league games, and giving young Rob Refsnyder every opportunity to win the second-base job in spring training.
"There are a lot of people in [the Yankees'] organization who want to give Refsnyder a shot," the source said. "They think he's [their] best hitter."
Refsnyder, who will turn 24 in March, has only a half-season of Triple-A ball under his belt -- he hit .300 with eight home runs and 33 RBIs in 77 games for Scranton after being promoted from Double-A Trenton, where he went .342-6-30 in 60 games -- but has shown improvement at the plate at every level. There are still some reservations about his defense -- he started as an outfielder before moving to second base -- but the Yankees love his bat. It's not outside the realm of possibility that he could be the starting second baseman when the season opens next April 6.
That still leaves the Yankees without a shortstop, a position GM Brian Cashman is said to be leaning toward filling via trade rather than free agency. (An Internet rumor that had the Yankees looking to trade Brett Gardner was shot down by my source, who said, "Absolutely not. [The Yankees] love Brett Gardner.")
"Things could get very interesting next week in San Diego," the source said.
Why not? It's December, which in the Yankee-sphere practically guarantees that they will.